New Jersey sports betting is now legal starting in January 2018, which means you can finally place bets on your favorite sports teams! But when will the same be true in Arizona? It seems like every year there’s some sort of legislative fight over sports betting in Arizona, but this year may be different. There are currently 12 states that regulate sports betting: Arizona, Delaware, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. In general, states that have legalized sports betting have allowed for online wagering, have set limits on how much you can bet, and have adopted regulations regarding sportsbooks (the places where you make your wagers).
It’s no secret that Arizona is the USA’s biggest sports market, with thousands of fans in love with their teams. If the state doesn’t legalize sports betting soon, it might not be long before fans in the desert start seeing ads for online sportsbooks when they log on to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Should Arizona Legalize Sports Betting?
The state of Arizona has long been a battleground for gambling issues, as you’d expect in a state where gambling is already legal. In 2012, the state passed Proposition 202, which allows for online sportsbooks to be established in the state. But the industry was still forced to shut down a year later, after the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has the authority to prohibit states from operating illegal sportsbooks.
That same year, Arizona passed a law that allows for the creation of state-sponsored casinos. These casinos are allowed to offer traditional casino games as well as table games, slot machines, and Fantasy Sports. It seems like the perfect storm for sports betting legalization in Arizona. And, in general, states that have legalized sports betting have allowed for online wagering, have set limits on how much you can bet, and have adopted regulations regarding sportsbooks (the places where you make your wagers).
So, as you might imagine, this issue has been hotly contested, with various states trying to establish the legality of sports betting in different ways. For example, in 2013, a bill was proposed that would have required sportsbooks to be licensed in the state. The bill never passed, but it did set the stage for this year’s legislative football.
What Will This Year’s Legislation In Arizona Be About?
This year, Senator Sonny Borrelli (R-Lakeland) wants to propose a bill that would allow for legal sports betting in Arizona. While there are still a lot of details to be worked out, the basic premise behind Senator Borrelli’s bill is to create a safe, legal way for the state’s residents to enjoy their favorite sports teams. In addition, the bill would also allow for college sports betting, including between conference games and matchups, in an effort to generate more revenue for the state’s universities. Finally, the legislation would also create an environment where new businesses can emerge, providing more job opportunities in the state. Sounds pretty good to us!
Why Shouldn’t Arizona Legalize Sports Betting?
To say that there are a lot of folks in Arizona who don’t like sports betting would be an understatement. For years, religious groups, lawmakers, and constituents have warned that legalizing sports betting in any form would be a slippery slope to nowhere good. And they were right!
It’s important to point out that not every citizen in Arizona is against sports betting. In fact, a recent survey found that 58% of adults in the state support legalizing sports betting, while only 29% are opposed. Additionally, the survey found that 59% of millennials support legalizing sports betting, compared to only 28% of Gen-Xers and 19% of baby boomers.
That said, there are still a lot of people in Arizona who don’t want to see sports betting legalized. Some of the more common objections to legalizing sports betting in Arizona include:
- It will lead to increased gambling
- It will lead to more underage gambling
- It will lead to more people doing drugs
- It will lead to more corruption
- It will lead to more violence
- It will hurt small businesses
- It will hurt public schools
- It will take jobs from actual ‘real’ workers
- It will take money from essential services (e.g. healthcare, education, etc.)
- Many more…
So, even though a surprising number of Arizonans support legalizing sports betting, the odds of it actually happening are still pretty long. But at least the fans can look forward to an exciting season of their favorite team games.